Today, I heard the news that a major pediatrician group is advising doctors to prescribe the morning-after pill to teens before they actually need to use it – you know, just in case they do end up needing to use it. At first, I was like, “Hm, that sounds like a pretty cool idea.” But then five seconds later I realized that this might actually not be as great as I thought.
Let’s get this clear before we move on: I am totally pro-Plan B. While I’ve never taken the morning-after pill myself, I think it’s good for girls to have the option to prevent pregnancy before it happens if things got a little messy in the bedroom the night before. Unexpected things can happen during sex – the condom breaks, the condom gets lost inside of you, or maybe you just totally forgot the condom altogether. Okay, maybe that last one is more of a mistake on your part, but the point is we can’t always predict what’s going to happen while hooking up, and that’s where the morning-after pill comes in.
However, there’s an issue with having it prescribed to teens in advance, and that issue (in my opinion) is that it makes the morning-after pill way too easy. Right now in the United States, girls under 17 can’t get the morning-after pill without a prescription. That makes things a little difficult. If you’re 16-years-old and the condom breaks during sex and you wake up in a panic the next morning, you have to head over to a doctor or Planned Parenthood to get a prescription and then make the sort of embarrassing trip to the drug store to buy Plan B. It’s not ideal.
But if you were already prescribed Plan B and it’s sitting in your desk drawer next to your bed, all you have to do is roll over and take the pill without any of that hassle. Sounds awesome, right? It is awesome for teens who are responsible enough to know how to handle the morning-after pill. It is not awesome for teens who are ready to abuse it, whether they mean to or not.
The Committee on Adolescence from the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a statement, “Studies have shown that adolescents are more likely to use emergency contraception if it has been prescribed in advance of need.” I definitely am not going to argue with this – like I just said, having a supply of Plan B ready and waiting to be used is of course easier than going to to the store to buy it, whether you need a prescription or not. Of course adolescents are more likely to use it.
Here’s what I’m trying to say: Plan B shouldn’t be something you have lying around in your bathroom next your Advil. It’s a serious pill and not something you should take whenever you want. I feel like having a stash of Plan B waiting for you might actually encourage unsafe sex for teens who aren’t exactly mature enough yet to handle self-prescribing it.
What if a girl is about to hookup with her hot crush when she realizes neither of them have a condom? If she really, really wants to do it and knows she can just take some Plan B the next day and everything will be fine, don’t you think she might do it? I’m not saying every teen is irresponsible enough to make that decision – in fact, I’m not even going to limit it to just teens. Anyone could make that decision. But some people might think that way. Not only is having sex without a condom always a bad idea (even if you’re going to use the morning-after pill, you still have to worry about STD’s), but abusing the pill is not good for your health.
I think Plan B should definitely be accessible and easy to buy in your local drugstore. But I don’t think it should be prescribed to you just in case you need it. At the end of the day, there are just too many people out there who might abuse the pill or start having unsafe sex and using the pill as a sort of substitute for a condom or other protection, and that’s not okay.
What do you think? Do you agree with me? Do you think it’s a good idea for doctors to prescribe the morning-after pill in advance? Have you ever used Plan B? Would you like to have it in your house in case? Tell us in the comments!